Report: Big Ten Schedule Release Put on Hold Because of Recent Virus Outbreaks

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that the Big Ten is holding off on releasing its revised college football schedule because of recent COVID-19 outbreaks at several conference schools.

According to a report by the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, sources say that Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has concerns about what happened at Rutgers, where reported that 28 football players plus “multiple team staffers” have been infected. Because of that, and the fact that six Big Ten schools have paused workouts because of positive test results, Warren decided to wait before considering the conferences next step in regards to a fall football season.

The Tribune also reported that Warren has been talking to student-athletes at each school to get some feedback on their thoughts about a season.

It's been nearly a month since the Big Ten announced that the league would play conference games only in all fall sports to minimize exposure as much as possible.

The July 9 announcement to take away all nonconference games took several high-profile matchups off the table, most notably some early-season showdown between Wisconsin at Notre Dame at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Ohio State at Oregon and  Michigan at Washington.

Indiana's three nonconference games that were lost were Western Kentucky and Ball State at home, and a road game with Connecticut.

Warren has continued to say that the health of student-athletes are his first priority, but that are also millions of dollars at stake. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal that no football season could cost the school close to $100 million in revenue. It's expected that every Big Ten school would lose at least $50 million if the season doesn't get played. 

“We’ve got to feel comfortable that our athletes will be safe before we move forward,” Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal two weeks ago. “I want to be able to look (parents) in the eye and say, yeah, I feel comfortable that they’ll be safe.”

Indiana reported 33 positive tests out of 490 last week, but was in the national spotlight on Monday when Debbie Rucker, the mother of Indiana freshman Brady Feeney, discussed his battles with the virus last month. Fennel is back on campus now after a three-week scare, but his mother said he might have heart issues after multiple tests and will be seeing a cardiologist soon.

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